Who Got NeXT: Reviewing NXT’s Latest TakeoverPosted: February 12, 2015
This column is courtesy of our friend and wrasslin’ aficionado Spencer Davies.
For those wrestling fans that haven’t tuned in to NXT, start now. NXT features the best in-ring talent in the company, as well as compelling storytelling that blows Raw and SmackDown creative out of the water.
Wednesday night’s PPV was yet another show that set the bar not only for developmental talent, but the entire roster. So let’s take a look at the show.
Hideo Itami vs. Tyler Breeze
If you aren’t into wrestling outside of the WWE, you probably don’t know who Hideo Itami is. Itami, known as Kenta in New Japan Pro Wrestling, signed on with the company last summer. He is known for his quick feet and nasty kicks, and that showed at Takeover.
Tyler Breeze, the resident narcissistic model at NXT, is much tougher than many think. He has a mean streak in him that many don’t expect.
As far as the match goes, it was counter after counter and kick after kick. Itami and Breeze had excellent chemistry together in the ring and worked a fantastic match to warm up the crowd.
WINNER: Hideo Itami
MATCH RATING: 4/5
Solomon Crowe Vignette
Another new addition to the NXT roster, Crowe brings a sense of mystery. His “hackings” of the show are reminiscent of Chris Jericho. Crowe’s in-ring abilities are very impressive, as I’ve seen when he was on the independent scene working as Sami Callihan. Look for Crowe to make his presence felt immediately when he debuts next Wednesday.
Bull Dempsey vs. Baron Corbin (NO DQ)
Bull Dempsey is one of the few “old-school” wrestlers on the NXT Roster. “The Last of a Dying Breed” began his wrestling career in Brooklyn and was trained by former WWE wrestler Tazz. He has a Rhyno-like gimmick and grungy music like him too.
A former NFL offensive lineman, “The Lone Wolf” Baron Corbin SCREAMS typical Vince McMahon big guy. He, like Dempsey, is an intimidator. Standing 6-9 and weighing 280 pounds, Corbin destroys his opponents in under a minute with his devastating “End of Days” finisher.
This match I was disappointed with. After losing twice to Corbin, Dempsey vowed to get his revenge and had the opportunity to. The match started out sloppy, with a botched clothesline that lost the crowd. After wearing him down, Dempsey took a chair to Corbin only to run into a poorly executed End of Days finisher to give Corbin the victory. The crowd booed the ending, so you know it didn’t deliver.
WINNER: Baron Corbin
MATCH RATING: 2/5
NXT Tag Team Championship: The Lucha Dragons vs. Blake & Murphy (C)
The Lucha Dragons consist of Sin Cara and Kalisto. Most know about Sin Cara from his time in WWE, so I’m not going to talk about him. But I will talk about Kalisto. Known as Samuray del Sol in Dragon Gate USA, Kalisto brings an exciting lucha libre energy to the ring. His moves remind me of a young Rey Mysterio but more fluid.
Blake & Murphy are the newest tag team to burst onto the NXT scene. The two are incredibly in-sync with each other and have brought a fresh breath to the NXT tag team division. Officials must have seen this because they shockingly upset the Lucha Dragon two weeks ago to win the tag team titles after jobbing for the majority of their careers.
Though it started with a few botches from Sin Cara (surprise), this match picked back up quickly. Kalisto hit an insane head scissors driver on one of the two that I thought put it away for sure. But after a backdrop/neckbreaker double team that saw Sin Cara drop 8 feet from the air, Blake & Murphy regained the momentum and eventually retained their titles.
WINNER: Blake & Murphy
MATCH RATING: 3.5/5
No. 1 Contender’s Match for the NXT Championship: Adrian Neville vs. Finn Bálor
Adrian Neville is the best high flyer in NXT and possibly the WWE. The spring in his step and springboarding abilities make you double take and think “how the hell did he do that?!” With his Reverse 450 Splash and patented Red Arrow, Neville is a highly touted prospect for the main roster.
What more can you say about Finn Bálor? Known as Prince Devitt on the independent circuit and NJPW, Bálor came right along with Hideo Itami to the company. His kicks and Double Footstomp off of the turnbuckle are incredible. But what he is notorious for is his EPIC entrance and facepaint. It not only is an amazing display of presentation, but it also serves as an intimidator to his opponent.
Match of the night? No. MATCH OF THE EFFING YEAR!! I don’t think I can even break this down because from when the bell rang to the final three count it was a fast-paced, action-packed masterpiece. ALL OF THE AMAZING FALSE FINISHES. I can’t even talk about it. I’m going to watch it again. You should too. Now.
WINNER: Finn Bálor
MATCH RATING: 1000000000000/5 (But seriously, it was THAT good)
NXT Women’s Championship: Bayley vs. Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte (C)
Triple H and NXT have redefined women’s wrestling, and they’ve done a damn good job doing it. Bayley is the bubblegum, always happy girl. But don’t mistake that for being a pushover, as she’s shown an aggressive side of her that we haven’t seen yet.
Working under the name Rebecca Knox in Ireland with Prince Devitt, Becky Lynch is a girl with spunk. Her red hair reminds me of Lita, and so does her work in the ring.
The Nature Boy Ric Flair’s daughter, Charlotte has been the most dominant and impressive diva in NXT. She’s held the title for over 280 days and certainly deserves it, despite some saying it’s been handed to her.
Right behind or equal to her is Sasha Banks. “The Boss” has everything and more: good looks, charisma and amazing talent in the ring.
After failing on all previous championship attempts, Banks got the job done with a crossface into a rollover pin on Charlotte to win her first NXT Women’s Championship.
WINNER: Sasha Banks
NXT Championship: Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn (C)
After years and years in Ring of Honor as Kevin Steen, Kevin Owens finally made it to the WWE. His brutal style and agility for a big man is insane. He’s known for his bone-crushing powerbombs and Senton Bombs off of the top rope. I’ll personally guarantee that this man will be at the top of the company in the future.
Sami Zayn, otherwise known as El Generico in Ring of Honor, is the total package. He is your classic underdog that never stops fighting. Like John Cena, but with actual wrestling moves and stuff. Zayn shows amazing resilience and toughness for his size. His promos have a Mick Foley-esque realistic feel to them, so you’re always wanting to root for him. Similar to Neville but not exactly, Zayn’s springboarding abilities are jaw-dropping. His signatre set of moves include the Blue Thunder Bomb and the Helluva Kick, which is a big boot across his opponent’s face while he’s stranded in the corner of the ring.
This match was eerily reminiscent to Brock Lesnar versus John Cena at last year’s SummerSlam. Though it started with a crazy flip by Zayn over the ropes AND the referee onto Owens outside of the ring, Owens methodically picked Zayn apart. He literally powerbombed Zayn five or six times and forced the referee to stop the match, awarding Owens his first NXT championship just two months after his debut. After nearly a year-long journey for Sami Zayn to win the brand’s most prestigious title, it was all taken away thanks to a straight up beatdown by Owens. Something tells me that this isn’t over. And with Finn Bálor waiting for his shot, the NXT title picture is going to be very interesting, and very entertaining.
WINNER BY KNOCKOUT: Kevin Owens
MATCH RATING: 4/5